Provincial funding is not keeping pace with the growth happening in our community. This is an ongoing challenge for Halton Region and we continue to experience funding shortfalls in our cost shared programs with the Provincial Government in the areas of public health and Paramedic Services.
Funding Shortfalls for Public Health and Paramedic Services
In 2013 the Province funded only 61 per cent of the total cost of cost shared programs versus the expected 75 per cent. For programs that are supposed to be 100 per cent funded by the Province, we are only receiving 70 per cent. As a result, Halton taxpayers are now funding a Provincial shortfall of $6.9 million annually for public health programs. For Paramedic Services the funding received is 44 per cent of the total costs versus the expected amount of 50 per cent of the total cost. This amounts to an additional $1.8 million annually that Halton taxpayers must fund for the shortfall. Combined with the funding shortfall for public health, the total is $8.7 million which is equivalent to a four per cent tax increase for Halton taxpayers. Funding is not keeping pace with growth yet the Province continues to mandate service delivery targets for public health standards and response times for Paramedic Services. We are advocating to the Provincial Government for a commitment to deliver long-term, sustainable funding at the expected (agreed-upon) levels of cost sharing for public health programs and Paramedic Services.
Hospital Offload Delays and Response Times Impacted by the Central Ambulance Communications Centre (CACC)
Halton Region continues to raise the issue of hospital offload delays with the Provincial Government. Local hospital capacity has not kept pace with growth What this means to you as a resident, is that we have periods of time when limited ambulances are available for response in Halton due to the backlog of patient transfers at our hospitals. This is of critical importance and must be addressed to meet the needs of our community.
The Central Ambulance Communications Centre manages and dispatches 911 calls to all Paramedic Services in Ontario. This is a Provincial service that requires enhancements to its operations to ensure Halton Region is able to deliver responsive and timely paramedic services to our residents. Our response times are impacted by the timeliness of call dispatches from the CACC and this in turn impacts our response times in the community.
Halton Region is advocating on your behalf to the Provincial Government for immediate action to address these issues. Learn more about our Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign.
If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”